Monday, 5 May 2014

Filming with a smartphone fixed in a kite

One of the goals that made me start writing ATOR's blog was the possibility of having access to interesting technologies without the need to purchase expensive software licenses, or even inaccessible hardware.
A very interesting example is the use of photographs to scan 3D objects. In this case, we replace (with limitations, of course) a laser scanners by a photographic camera and a program that calculates the 3D mesh using an algorithm that crosses data from photographs.
So far so good, but what about when we talk about drones? Is there a way to create a tool like a drone with what we have at hand and without spending much money?
Loosely speaking, fortunately the answer is yes!

To run the project we took a long holiday we had here in Brazil and I called my nephew who is a master kite builder. Thank very much for your help Patrick Pagliari!

Our challenge was to build a kite that could fly with a smartphone attached using only what we had in our homes.

As this was a great kite, the first challenge we had was finding rods with sufficient scale to meet our needs.
I live on a farm and we have lots of trees on the ground. Some time ago we had time heavy rains in my region with strong winds. These winds broke some branches of a mulberry tree (Morus nigra) that we have on this farm. Since they are lightweight and almost dried branches we decided to use them in the project.

We worked until night to cut the trunks, tie them and compose a kite with 7.5x the size of a normal kite.

The other day, with the small tail of the kite made​​, we made ​​the first flight test ... successful!

Then we reinforce a layer of silk paper and we pinned a smartphone in the kite (Samsung Galaxy Y Duos).

To solve the problem of the video, which was recorded with excessive movement of the kite, I edited it manually rotation in Blender.
After I imported in the Kdenlive and I enabled automatic stabilization to improve the result.

Now, for the second version of the project we intend to create a script that accesses the camera and take pictures with 3.1 megapixels, so we can do photogrammetry for large spaces.

I hope it works.

A big hug!

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